The invasion of Europe

September 18, 2015

“Immigration” is so much less threatening a term than “invasion”. “Immigration” suggests an orderly process, under the bureaucratic control of the country on the receiving end — whereas “invasion” implies the very opposite, at least from the point of view of the invaded country. Yet most migrants do not see themselves as invaders and are unaware that they are mounting an invasion.

This must be true of the vast majority of the refugees — mainly, but not solely, from Syria — currently pouring into Europe. As individuals and probably even as a group, they do not harbor evil or aggressive intent toward their chosen destination, rather they are motivated by self-preservation and are generally eager to work and contribute. Unfortunately for them, many Europeans see them as invaders — if not them now, then their progeny a generation or two hence.

This situation is as ironic as it is tragic. Most of today’s Europeans are descendants of invaders, albeit long ago. Hungary, for instance, which has been among the most hostile countries, was formed by Magyar tribes which ‘arrived’ in the region from the Urals in the 9th century. But they were relative latecomers, preceded by the better-known “barbarian invasions” of the Huns, Goths, Franks and others, which gradually destroyed the Roman Empire and eventually gave rise to France, Germany, etc.

On the other hand, the Hungarian national memory includes both the Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century and the later and more successful effort of the Ottoman Empire — in both of which Hungary was on the front line. In other words, the threat of a large influx from the east, even if not overtly hostile, awakens in the average Hungarian — and most other Europeans — very deep-seated and dark associations. These are not just ethnic and racial, but also religious, because the threat is Islamic — even if it isn’t “Islamist” — and those threatened are Christian, whether by culture, heritage or actual religious practice. They may be different types of Christian, but they share a common faith that brings them together in the face of a common threat.

America invades others

Most of this is incomprehensible to Americans, whose mini- history stretches only a few hundred years and includes no invasions beyond mere incidents — Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and a more serious effort by the British in 1812-14. For the most part, American history is a litany of American invasions of other places, near and far. In other words, for Americans, both “invasion” and “immigration” are part of what we do to others — invading people and places we don’t like, whilst allowing people we do like (or, in the case of slaves, don’t like but need) to immigrate to America. Only very recently has this paradigm begun to change, following several unsuccessful invasions and a change of heart toward immigration.

But even anti-immigration Americans do not use race, religion or ethnicity in their formal arguments. This may merely reflect the power of political correctness, but more likely stems from deeper historic and cultural differences. In Europe — even in the secular, liberal European Union, where the human rights creed has the status of a secular religion to which all office-holders must at least pay lip-service — the prospect of mass immigration has begun to crush both the ideology and practice of the Union.

The most obvious outward expression of the retreat from the EU’s ideals is the erosion or the Schengen agreement. Begun in 1985 and incorporated into EU law via the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, ‘Schengen’ removed borders and ancillary procedures  — passport checks, customs officers — between EU member-states, replacing these ‘internal’ borders with ‘external’ ones, namely those between EU and non-EU countries. Yet after decades of gradual expansion, Schengen is being rolled back — ‘temporarily’ and partially, of course — as countries feel obliged to re-establish controls and restrictions on movements between EU member-states.

The Four Freedoms

Thus crumbles one of the Four Freedoms which are the central pillars of the new Europe that the EU is committed to construct — freedom of movement of goods, of services, of people and of capital. It was preceded by the end of free movement of capital in two member states, Cyprus and Greece, but that was due to the severity of their economic crises. In sharp contrast, the erosion of free movement of people is being imposed on the EU by outside pressures — and by the response to them from within the Union.

Fear of a Moslem surge into Europe is not new. It was the reason that France and others effectively blocked an agreement between the EU and Turkey that would have opened the way to eventual membership. Back then, in the 1990s, the accusation was that the EU is ultimately ‘a Christian club’. Today, there is no doubt that it is a Christian/ Caucasian club and wishes to remain so. But that will entail abandoning its liberal ideals and, even then, the effort will probably fail — in the face of the brutal demographic reality, wherein the shrinking population of Christian Caucasian Europe will be unable to hold the line in the face of an endless stream of increasingly desperate migrants from Asia and Africa.

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